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Climber Dies Demonstrating Safety

September 23, 1996| Associated Press

REDDING, Calif. — An expert mountain climber teaching safety procedures to a group of teenagers deliberately severed his main safety line, then fell to his death when a backup rope anchor failed.

Travis Charles Hull, 28, of French Gulch, was demonstrating rappelling to a group of high school students Saturday near Seltzer Dam when the accident occurred.

"Hull stepped back to the edge of the cliff to demonstrate that while utilizing a two-point safety device, if one point failed the second point would hold the climber secure," said Shasta County Deputy Coroner Ray Bailey.

But Hull's second line failed, and he fell onto the rocks below. Hull, the director of the North American Wilderness Academy, had been climbing for more than 20 years, his family said. He was preparing students for an upcoming trip to Alaska.

The eight students who witnessed the accident were taken to the Centerville Fire Department, where they were given counseling by sheriff's department chaplains.

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